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10 Scenic Passau Cruise Reviews

The river cruise industry is growing by leaps and bounds with 19-new ships sailing the rivers of Europe this year alone. Viking alone has 64 ships. So what’s all the fuss about. My wife and I have done 33 Ocean line cruises, but ... Read More
The river cruise industry is growing by leaps and bounds with 19-new ships sailing the rivers of Europe this year alone. Viking alone has 64 ships. So what’s all the fuss about. My wife and I have done 33 Ocean line cruises, but until this past month we’d never done a River Cruise. Since we’d never been on one and since we’re used to being on the larger ships (mostly Celebrity) we decided we would do a short river cruise to see if we’d like it. Viking certainly spends the most money on marketing so they were the first line we looked at. But after speaking to some friends they advised us to look at Scenic which they said was a higher class ship than Viking, offering more amenities and they told us Scenic was all inclusive. Bottom line we booked the Scenic Amber for an 8-day cruise along the Danube. The ship sailed from Passau to Budapest. As advertised Scenic did handle all of our travel for us. We flew into Munich and could have taken a direct transfer to the ship which is parked in Passau about two hours away. But we opted to stay in the hotel they designated (le Meridien) in Munich. If we stayed at the hotel they suggested they would provide us with a transfer to the ship on the day we were to scheduled to sail. At the airport we went to the meeting point only to find no one there. We waited for about ten minutes and they decided we’d try to call them and find out where the driver was. Five minutes later another handful of passengers showed up and asked the same thing. Five minutes after that a man came over and asked if we were Scenic guests and to follow him to the car. The hotel check in went well and the hotel was great in a prime location to see all the highlights of Munich. Two days after we arrived it was time for our bus ride to the ship. And as is German custom, our driver was there on time and we left (about 40 of us who’d stayed at the hotel) right on time. The drive to the ship was pretty uneventful. Finally there she was, the Amber Scenic waiting for our first look. Crew took care of the bags while we waited in the lounge and had the first of our drinks. Wasn’t long and we were able to get into our room. Ours was on the Diamond Deck (314). I was quite surprised how well laid out the room was. Obviously the rooms are not as big as you’d find on a cruise ship, but they were certainly more than adequate. They are well appointed and the fact the balcony is part of the room gave one even more space than I thought we’d have. The beds were also amazing electric beds that go up and down. First time we’d experienced this on any cruise we’d been on. So far so good. It was time for dinner. And I guess because of the size of the ship there was no one at the door to tell us where to sit, no maitre d. Now I can’t remember what we had the first night, which is pretty much how I’d refer to much of the food on this trip, not memorable, with two exceptions. Being on the “Diamond Deck” afforded us the opportunity to eat two specialty dinners. The first one we had was in what they call the Portabello restaurant which is really nothing more than an extension of the lounge. I ordered the beef which was more like beef stew than it was steak. As well, even when it came to desert they simply plopped a desert on a small plate with no presentation. The second specialty restaurant included wine pairings and it was much better. Overall I’d say that the food was one of the major disappointments on this line. While on this trip I was ready Anthony Bourdain’s book “Kitchen Confidential”, (shortly after his death) and it has gotten me interested in how a restaurant works. I asked to see the restaurant on board but was told I couldn’t. Scenic calls their tours Freechoice which is kind of confusing, since often times there are no choices. So here’s what our tour was like Day 1 They considering flying in Day one which in some ways doesn’t make sense, but heh, it’s their itinerary Day 2 The first day we spent the night in Passau. There the next morning we did a walking tour of the town which was fine and it allowed for some free time as well. By midday we finally sailed away. Our first stop Linz. When we stopped there the ship brought on some traditional German dancers who danced the Schuhplattler. This is a dance where the dancers constantly hit themselves. They were very good and fun to watch. Day 3 Day two in Linz guests had the option of going to Salzburg or a town in the Czech republic called Cesky Krumlov. We opted for Salzburg and the Sound of Music tour. Our guide, dressed in lederhosen was magnificent. He took us to sights where parts of the movie were filmed and he even took some guests and reenacted the scenes and singing. We also walked past the house where Mozart was born. The cruise line also provided us with lunch in an old historic building. Lunch was Schnitzel which seemed appropriate. Overall this was a great day. Back on board we sailed to our next stop Melk Austria Day 4 Melk has a wonderful Abbey which we could see partly from our balcony. Here we opted for their bike tour. Scenic has these wonderful ebikes. We were told that normally 14 - 20 tourists go on this ride, but we had 40 people on our ride. You ride 35 miles to Durnstein which is just down river. And while we’re cycling the ship actually sails to this stop. It was a lot of fun and one of the highlights of this trip. After arriving in Durnstein, the ship had organized a “Sundowner” in the Wachau Valley. We walked up to this restaurant overlooking the valley and they had an “oom pah pah” band playing. Lots of wine and nibbles here to enjoy. Again a very nice day. Next stop Vienna Day 5 When I woke up Vienna and looked out my balcony window all I could see was the balcony of a ship parked next to ours. Now I’d been told that often times on these river cruises you’ll have a number of ships parked next to each other and it’s not unusual to have to climb over one or two ships to get to land. The ship docked next to us was another Scenic ship. The thing that bothered me is that we paid an extra $3,000 to have a balcony. And for a chunk of the cruise it ended up that all I could look at was the balcony of my next door neighbours. This would never happen on an ocean going liner. Anyway we’re in Vienna. We decided to take a city tour, one of three offered this day. We’d been in Vienna before ten years ago, so it was nice to go back to this great city and revisit some of the sights we’d seen before. That night the ship arraigned for private concert featuring some of Vienna’s great performers and we had lots of music from Mozart etc. The setting was amazing, the Palace Liechtenstein in the middle of Vienna. It was all very formal and the performers were magnificent. Day 6 Next stop is Bratislava Slovakia. Another walking tour of the small old town. Very quant. Not much to do here, although we did see a sign that invited us to have a cup of tea in a bomb shelter Day 7 Next stop Budapest. Our captain tells us we’ll be sailing into Budapest by 8:00 am. I say great, I’ll get up early and take some pictures as we sail in. At 6:00 I’m looking at another balcony from a ship docked next to ours. I’m ticked because we were supposed to arrive two hours later. I complained to the tour director who says we had to get here quicker because of some Red Bull air race. Still you’d think they’d let you know. BTW, this wasn’t the first time we were told we were going to arrive at one time only to arrive hours early. It’s a riverboat, you’d think they could get their times right. Anyway Budapest. Pretty amazing city with amazing scenery. The ship organized a very good tour of the city. As part of the tour we stopped at a facility for the blind where they had a wonderful pianist perform for us. The man who started playing at a young age says he practiced for up to 14 hours a day. This man’s life is his piano. Wonderful performance. Back on board the ship had organized a BBQ on the top deck. It was the only time the top deck was used. They might want to considering doing more up there. It was very good That night the captain took us back down river so we could have a look at the sites at night. This was great. To see the parliament buildings lit up was beautiful. Day 8 Time to grab a bus and head to the airport. Disembarkation was well handled. It was interested to see that to get bags off the ship it was all hands on deck including the on board musician David who was slogging bags like the rest of the crew Overall impressions… We had a great time. We found the food was overall quite disappointing. There seemed to be a lack of detail. At breakfast each morning we had to ask for coffee Timing of the days activities could have been much more detailed as in what time we arrive and what time we sail. (It would have been good to get this at the beginning of the cruise.) They should have told passengers more about each tour. Some required a lot of walking and there were many seniors on board who had tremendous difficulty with this The outside entertainment was amazing and much appreciated We toured an AMA ship (one that we had to cross at one point) and found it to be much better organized insofar that tables were properly set up in the lounge. In ours you constantly had to climb over tables or chairs to get to a seat. AMA also had an office set up for the cruise director where you could go to ask questions. Would I rate this a 5-star cruise (which is how they advertised it)? Compared to what I’m used to at sea, I’d give this a 3.5. River cruising is expensive. Sure in this case all liquor was included, but what about those people who don’t drink. Quite frankly I can go on a nice ocean cruise for two weeks compared to the cost of one week on a river cruise We’re glad we did it, but truth is there’s no need to do another one. Bucket list - check. Finally, and saving the best for last. If someone were to ask me what was the best part of the cruise, it’s the people we met. We met a wonderful couple from England, Richard and Anne and they made the trip for us. We did everything together. So thanks to them for creating so many good memories. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We traveled with a group of 6 seasoned travelers, having decided to choose Scenic for their itinerary and their promised on board and off ship experiences. First let me say their experiences and excursions were fantastic. Upon arrival, ... Read More
We traveled with a group of 6 seasoned travelers, having decided to choose Scenic for their itinerary and their promised on board and off ship experiences. First let me say their experiences and excursions were fantastic. Upon arrival, even at the very early hour we only waited for our room for about an hour, having traveled overnight. The food on board was over the top. BUT......having chosen the lowest cabin choice because, let’s face it, how much time will you spend in your cabin, was perhaps not the best choice. Three times we had to speak to the housekeeping manager in regards to the poor housekeeping in our cabin. Once, the “butler” went to the trouble of folding the toilet paper in a nice neat point but failed to notice that there was only 5 sheets of toilet paper on the roll and left no replacement roll!!! The next day he didn’t leave a bath mat. And the next, which continued on numberous days the mini bar was not refilled. So much for free mini bar. I must add though that the bed was sooooo comfortable!!! As for the free bar on board. Only if you went to the bar yourself would you get a drink for the sundeck. When a comment was made to the bartender he got rather vocal about not being able to serve and tend bar at the same time. I appreciate his opinion but that is not something that should be shared with guests. When we mentioned it to the cruise director he tried to explain that their money is better spent on their quality of food rather then employees???? All in all, yes I would try another river cruise because traveling without children was a plus, no tipping was also a treat. Would I try Scenic again, probably unless I could find the same offerings on the same quality ship elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Many of our friends had been on a cruise and urged us to do the same. Theirs was a big boat type with several thousand people aboard. We wanted to see Europe, and wanted a shorter duration of about a week. As well, classical music is our ... Read More
Many of our friends had been on a cruise and urged us to do the same. Theirs was a big boat type with several thousand people aboard. We wanted to see Europe, and wanted a shorter duration of about a week. As well, classical music is our favorite with Mozart and Liszt being prominent among the great composers. Of course, who doesn't like the "The Sound of Music". This cruise was a good fit. We have always visited churches when we travel and this one featured the Melk Abbey. When we began the cruise we met Mirko and Tadej who always exceeded our expectations. By the end of the cruise they felt like old friends. The rest of the staff were extremely hard-working, courteous, and welcoming. They are your best asset. Upon arrival - we were among the earliest in Passau - we were encouraged to start availing ourselves of the amenities particularly the bar. Once our cabin was ready, a short wait, we settled in. The cabin was perfectly appointed, clean, welcoming, and served our needs perfectly. Breakfast and lunch gave a wide array of choices all expertly prepared and presented. Dinner was always a meal to look forward to as we dined with a number of friends with who we met on the cruise. The wine selection was excellent. Many of our newly made friends loved them as well. The highlights were the shore excursions, our favorite being the music at Palais Lichtenstein, however the Scenic Tour Guides on the city tours were kind, patient, and knowledgeable. Loved Sebastian in Salzburg. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this cruise with the help of our travel agent and feed back from her colleagues. I have to say that we were not disappointed. The crew of the Scenic Amber, including Tadej, Mirko, Alexandru and others were amazing and treated us ... Read More
We chose this cruise with the help of our travel agent and feed back from her colleagues. I have to say that we were not disappointed. The crew of the Scenic Amber, including Tadej, Mirko, Alexandru and others were amazing and treated us to a pampered experience where every detail was taken care of. The food was excellent, the rooms were spotless and well maintained, the excursions were well panned and the GPS information devices gave us many options to explore and learn all there was to take in along the Danube. The local entertainment was also a nice touch to add t our learning experience. We will definitely cruise with Scenic, and if possible this specific team again. We were also able to meet many new acquaintances. My only suggestion to make it even better, would be to explore the possibility of offering age-group specific cruises. Many of the much older passengers seemed unappreciative of the activities and services where we loved them. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Our cabin, though on the Sapphire Deck, had limited space for movement. The wardrobe and shelving space was adequate and the safe on a pull-out drawer easy to use. However, we chose a cabin with a balcony, thinking we would wake up with ... Read More
Our cabin, though on the Sapphire Deck, had limited space for movement. The wardrobe and shelving space was adequate and the safe on a pull-out drawer easy to use. However, we chose a cabin with a balcony, thinking we would wake up with our morning tea and look out onto the Danube scenery - all we could see 5 mornings out of 7 - was into the cabin of the ship moored alongside us. We saw a lady coming our of the shower, thankfully with a towel draped over her and a man putting on his underwear!! There was no space to pass between the chair at the dressing table and the end of the bed. The shower was very good, but the tap over the basin was sited much too high, therefore clothes splashed if not VERY careful. The design of the window space was most odd. What use was each individual sliding glass panel? What were they there for? The net curtain and the bedroom black curtain, when pulled closed, made the cabin even smaller. Thought should be given to re designing the curtain to go AROUND the window thus opening up the balcony space for use at all times. The food was most disappointing and not 5 star as advertised. The dining room tables were much too close together - some tables never used as people could not get into the spaces at table. We did not expect Buffets when 5 star advertised. The entertainment was varied to suit all tastes and the excursions were well organised, though a 10 hour trip to and from Strasbourg was much too long. The Lounge area was too cramped and movement to reach a seat meant struggling between low, black glass tables and the swivel chairs. The service of all crew, catering, housekeeping and guides was fantastic. The Cruise Director was fantastic, helpful and knowledgeable. If there had been 30 less people aboard, space would have been better and things more relaxed. We would not use Scenic again for these reasons. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Chose this cruise as we had never done a river cruise. First two to three days food was certainly not 5 star, we thought the chef had been replaced as the food certainly improved. I must mention Branislav the waiter who went the extra ... Read More
Chose this cruise as we had never done a river cruise. First two to three days food was certainly not 5 star, we thought the chef had been replaced as the food certainly improved. I must mention Branislav the waiter who went the extra mile and Francis the butler was very keen to please. Waiter was asked by a guest for a dessert wine, which he brought, when asked by another guest if he could have one also, he told him no as it was a special wine for other guests, not the answer we would expect on a 5 star ship. As we had not been on a river cruise before, we were surprised by the fact we did not see daylight in our cabin for four days out of the seven days as other boats were moored right next to us, we paid for a balcony and could not use it, as the guests off the other boats could see in the window. I would have thought in this day and age we would have been able to see out and they would not have been able to see in, but no. We have been on Ocean cruises and now a river cruise, I would like to do another river cruise, so I could make a better comparison, but it was very expensive to keep your curtains closed all day. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
A faultless experience. Every aspect and experience was superb. First class fine dining with an amazing choice of beautifully presented food. A lovely immaculate ship , not too big with approx 120 passengers. Literally everything was ... Read More
A faultless experience. Every aspect and experience was superb. First class fine dining with an amazing choice of beautifully presented food. A lovely immaculate ship , not too big with approx 120 passengers. Literally everything was included ...we even had 1 kilo of free of charge laundry. 2 items of free pressing a day were also included. I would recommend staying on the Diamond deck in one of the Royal Balcony Suites if the budget allows ....however the balcony suites are completely adequate but not a lot of room for to walk around the bed. The integrated balcony with seating and floor to ceiling glass brought the presence of the river right up to you. Storage facilities were excellent and the free mini bar can be restocked all day long . There was always plenty of hot water and clean towels The unlimited drinks - alcoholic / cocktails were excellent and no cheap local spirits were in sight . We were most fortunate to have a brilliant cruise director - Richard Grey who quite frankly made this trip beyond outstanding. There was a variety of evening entertainment which included local dancers etc and a resident piano player There was always a choice of free shore excursions. and all the shore excursions were very well organised and we never felt like 'cattle being herded around' Every staff member on board from the room maid, personal butler, bar staff, chefs, waiters to the captain were always so cheerful and helpful .Scenic even included a door to door service collection ; every aspect of this trip had been thoroughly thought out to give us a most unforgettable and enjoyable holiday . I cant recommend Scenic highly enough ! Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Best holidays. Ever. By far. I hope my wife will submit her own review but we both enjoyed our Scenic experience very much. Scenic exceeded our expectations in so many different ways. Everything was top notch, but especially the people. ... Read More
Best holidays. Ever. By far. I hope my wife will submit her own review but we both enjoyed our Scenic experience very much. Scenic exceeded our expectations in so many different ways. Everything was top notch, but especially the people. They'd never save an effort to go the extra mile to please us. My wife was a bit picky with the food, so the waiters at Crystal Dining made it their point to always make her happy. They would bring her some delicious berries, some fruits and vegetables she might have just mentioned... Simply amazing. As for myself, I am not new to 5* experiences in different parts of the world but this was something special indeed. The food and the wine were invariably delicious, but there were also those small nice touches, like when you come from a lengthy excursion and on entering the ship you see the crew members offering you a hot towel and a refreshing drink. As soon as we'll have time for our next holidays, we'll be enjoying them with Scenic again, that's for sure. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
When we were in Prague as an add on to our river cruise we received a note in our door that the first 3 days the ship would be operating out of Passau (a 3.5 hour bus ride away) and that the excursions would be bus tours from there to ... Read More
When we were in Prague as an add on to our river cruise we received a note in our door that the first 3 days the ship would be operating out of Passau (a 3.5 hour bus ride away) and that the excursions would be bus tours from there to Nuremberg (2.5+hours) and Regensburg (1.5+hours) each way. Also the boat was now the Opal rather than the Jasper. We were not aware of this either. We were very unhappy as were all the fellow cruisers to whom we spoke. One of the joys of river cruising is, supposedly (as we never found out) sitting and watching the world go by. Instead we were stuck at a dock in a small cabin with a useless sunroom and with another boat rafted beside us. Therefore we had no light, no view, no air and no privacy. We then sailed to Komoron which is 2 hours outside of Budapest and has absolutely nothing to do or see. I would rather they had changed the itinerary to include cruising to some other part of the river rather than sit in port. Or, as other river cruise lines did, transfer us to boats in major ports on our itinerary and at least cut down on the hours of driving on a bus that smelled like urine. For the entire week we cruised during the day approximately 6 hours. The rest of the time the boat sailed at night or we remained rafted in our little dungeon. It would have been nice to at least use the hot tub but it was out of commission for all but the first day. Then there is the food. Definitely not five star in my opinion. Over cooked pork, raw chicken, soggy seafood and beef, overcooked vegetables, cornstarch filled soups with no flavour or substance, dried bread, cheap wines and very little flavour for everything. The seafood buffet held at one lunch time was all that I believe was satisfactory, although as mention the soup was tasteless except for the flavour of cornstarch. The cruise was run like a cheap bus tour. No sit down breakfast after 830, short lunch and dinner whenever the buses got back. The beer and wines were okay but not 5 star as were the drinks. No caesars to be found. The entertainment was limited and very disappointing. The cruise director and staff were not helpful when trying to book alternate excursions such as the hop on hop off bus. It stopped right outside the boat in Vienna but we didn't figure that our until we followed their recommendations to take a taxi into Vienna to book it. Which we did. Then found that the itinerary included a dock side stop right in front of our boat. We brought the brochures (from the booth outside of the ship at the bus stop) to the staff for further reference. As mentioned, included excursions required usually over 2 hours of bus time each way. The sundowner (happy hour) excursion included cheap white wine, no red wine or beer and a long walk from the bus(which was not mentioned) We had no problem with this but many of the other cruisers did. Also the night of so called elegance for a classical music concert at a palace in Vienna involved a long bus ride and then a long walk through the city on cobblestones so those that made the mistake of wearing the recommended "elegant wear". The so called self guided town and river devices did not work at times and they were very cumbersome. Also be aware that they asked us to leave the ear phones so they could be recycled (they were only cheap plastic for one ear). The overall lack of respect from the cruise director and the constant misinformation or lack of any information was disappointing to say the least. None of us on the cruise, that I am aware, had any prior information related to the changes. Also there appeared to be no attempt on behalf of Scenic to alter excursions or practice to improve the experience. We did not start the cruise where we were promised. We did not finish the cruise where promised. We do not believe we received 5 star service. However we believe that we had the most expensive 1 star bus tour to be had. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
To begin last year there was a drought on the danube and you could not start where you were suppose to. The cruise never told us until the day it left prague. I wish someone had told me not to go out every day and rush around and stay on ... Read More
To begin last year there was a drought on the danube and you could not start where you were suppose to. The cruise never told us until the day it left prague. I wish someone had told me not to go out every day and rush around and stay on the boat one day and crusie down, or you dont get to see any beautiful countryside cause at nite its dark when the boat was moving. The nites they had special dinners the food was great , the other nites it was good. Lunches looked great but you were off the boat everyday site seeing. I would not pay extra for balcony cause you are at dock level and dont see anything or you go up to the top deck at nite and there is where the view is. Entertainment is fair you are not going on a river cruise for the entertainment. The electric bikes were great but everyone was in a hurry , and they needed to divide the groups up more. Scenic is one of the better ships cause everything is included. It is much different than a big cruise ship. Just remember to relax. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
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